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How to Conduct a Marriage Service as a Minister (Scottish Form)

The Minister should be seated before the congregation and the organist at his (or her) post, at leas a few minutes before the time of commencement.

Arrangements should be made for a sign to be given upon the arrival of the bridal party at the Church door, then the
Minister and congregation should stand. A suitable voluntary should be played as the Bride and her attendants walk up the aisle to take their place on the left of the Bridegroom and Groomsman, who should now be standing facing the Minister.

While still standing, the Minister announces a hymn, following which a short prayer is offered invoking the Lord’s
blessing upon the service and all assembled.

The congregation may now take their seats, or remain standing (according to local custom) The persons about to be married remain standing, with their attendants.

The Minister then addresses all as follows:-

“Dearly Beloved, we are met together here in the presence of God and in the sight of one another to join together this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony, which is an honourable estate and of Divine origin and institution. It is sanctioned and approved of in the Holy Scriptures, and dignified and forever hallowed by the personal presence of our Lord at Cana in Galilee, where He performed His first Miracle. It speaks to us of the mystical union of Christ and His Church. St. Paul speaking of its says, “Marriage is honourable among all men” so we must conclude that it must not be regarded in a light manner, but undertaken and entered into in all solemnity, with wisdom and forethought, reverently and in the fear of God; with the understanding that it was first ordained for the mutual help, society and comfort that the one ought to have of the other, in prosperity and adversity. Into this holy bond these two persons here present are now to enter. Therefore, if any man can show any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace”.

If there is no objection, the Minister addresses the Bride and Bridegroom:-

“In token of the covenant which you are now to make, give to each other the right hand.”

Then the Minister will ask the Bridegroom:

“A.B. (Bridegroom’s full name), will thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance, in the Holy estate of Matrimony? With thou love her. comfort her, honour and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking and all other, keep thee only unto her, as long as ye both shall live?”

The Bridegroom answers:-

“I will.”

Then the Minister asks the Bride:-

“C. D. (Bride’s full name), wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance, in the Holy estate of Matrimony? With thou love, honour and obey him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking and all other, keep thee only unto him, as long as ye both shall live?”

The Bride answers:-

“I will.”

The Bridegroom and the Bride loose hands.

To the Bridegroom the Minister says:-

“As a seal of the covenant which you have made with each other, place this ting on the third finger of the Bride’s left hand. By this ancient and accepted symbol of conjugal love you take each other to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you part.”

Then the Minister shall say:-

“God’s Word declares, ‘Whom God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.’ Forasmuch as A.B. and C.D. have consented together in holy wedlock and have witnessed the same before God and His company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth one to the other, and have declared the same by the giving and receiving of a ring and by the joined of hands; I pronounce that they be man and wife together, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen!”

A few Scriptures may now be used; such as Eph. 5:22-28

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and He is the saviour of the body. Then fore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wives loveth himself.”

After this, the newly-married couple kneel (cushions having been provided and placed before them).

The Minister then prays, committing their future into the Lord’s keeping, it being understood that both are believers and united in the Divine bond.

Then he lays one hand on the head of each and pronounces the blessing. The couple now rise, and the Minister delivers a short address consisting of congratulation, advice, and scriptural instruction such as:-

Eph 5: 1-2.

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.”

1st Cor. 7:29-31,

“But this I say, brethen, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing i t; for fashion of this world passeth away. “

Eph, 5:15-16.

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. “

The concluding hymn is then sung and the benediction pronounced. While a voluntary is played the bridal party sign the register, after which the Bridegroom leads the Bride down the aisle on his arm out the Church and the attendants follow.


1. The service should be conducted with the utmost dignity and solemnity. The Minister should seek by much prayer and watchfulness to create and retain a gracious spiritual atmosphere throughout, avoiding and discouraging any undue lightness.
2. It should be of reasonable length, yet not unnecessarily prolonged.
3. The Church should be comfortably heated when necessary, and when possible flowers should be arranged with taste and discretion.
4. Every opportunity should be made use of at the service by the order and tone – the spiritual atmosphere – as well as by the conduct and manner of the saints, to create deep and lasting impressions on all who appear in the congregation, as to the undoubted reality of faith which we profess and hold.
5. Front seats should be reserved for relatives of the Bride and Bridegroom and the bridal party, which seats should be arranged as follows.:-

(i) Relatives of the Bride on the left-hand side entering the Church
(ii) Relatives of the Bridegroom on the right-hand side entering the Church

6. Ushers should be suitably placed, as follows:-

(i) One in the porch, awaiting the bridal party, and upon their arrival at the door to give a sign to the organist to commence playing the voluntary or march.
(ii) Another at the door leading from the porch into the Church to welcome the congregation and hand out the hymn sheets.
(iii) Another near the front to see to the seating arrangements of the bridal party and relatives and also to see to the placing of the cushions upon which the Bride and Bridegroom are to kneel.

7. Position of bridal party when standing before the altar:

Bridal and Bridegroom in the centre
Bride on left-hand side of the Bridegroom.
Best Man on the right-hand side of the Bridegroom
Bride’s nearest male relative standing behind the Bride.
One Bridesmaid at Bride’s side and others behind or in front row.

8. Order of leaving the Church:-

Bride and Bridegroom
Best Man and chief Bridesmaid
Other Bridesmaids
Bride’s father (or nearest male relative) and
Bridegroom’s mother
Bridegroom’s father and Bride’s mother.

9. Always keep in view that at such services unbelievers are present, and full advantage should be taken to sow the Word of Life.
10. The above aids are merely given as a guide, but respect should be given to local custom.